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Updated: September 20, 2013 17:19 IST

Italy on your plate

Ranjani Rajendra
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Cooking up a storm Chef Gianluca Tomasi from Italy at Park Hyatt. Photo: G. Ramakrishna
Cooking up a storm Chef Gianluca Tomasi from Italy at Park Hyatt. Photo: G. Ramakrishna

Chef Gianluca Tomasi talks about how Italian cooking is all about a quick stir here and a dash of condiments there to plate up perfectly balanced flavours

His love affair with cooking began as a child as he watched his father, a chef, create magic with his pots and pans. It was but natural for Chef Gianluca Tomasi, to take to cooking himself.

Now running the very successful Cucina Tomasi, which literally means the kitchen of Tomasi in Italy, the chef is well known for his fresh flavours and innovative cooking style. At the Park Hyatt for the Masters of Food and Wine event, Chef Tomasi has designed a special menu to offer guests a real taste of Italy and will also be holding an Italian cooking workshop on Saturday.

While Italian cooking is not complex, he says that the trick is to get the right balance of flavours. “Italian cuisine is all about fresh ingredients that are cooked quickly and celebrate the natural flavours of the ingredients being used,” he explains, adding, “For example if I were to cook a sea bass then the focus would be on the fish. The condiments would add that extra kick to the dish, but not overpower the flavour of the main ingredient.”

The focus is also on using the freshest ingredients possible. “We believe that food should be produced, prepared and consumed all within a short time span. That’s the best way to bring out the best flavours,” says Chef Tomasi, adding that he tries to strike harmony when plating a dish. “While making a pumpkin pie for example, I’d balance the sweetness of the vegetable with the saltiness of cheese. Similarly, I’d use some crispy celery to offset the softness of the pumpkin,” he says.

With extra virgin olive oil and pasta playing a major role in Italian cooking, Chef Tomasi explains that cooking pasta the right way is an art. “Getting the right proportion of water and pasta and cooking it till it is al dente is an art. Also one must choose the condiments according to the type of pasta one is cooking,” he says.

Like Indian, Italian cuisine is also very diverse. “Here though I’ve designed the menu to make sure guests can have a pan Italian gastronomical experience. So there’s a bit from the North and South of Italy and also some from the North Western region. The main idea is to give them a taste of authentic Italian cuisine with my own innovation,” he says.

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